Chabon Lives Up To My Expectations

It has been a long time since I have done a book review in this blog, I'm not really sure why but I think part of it is since the Angels Game I haven't completely enjoyed a book. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon has changed that. I was first introduced to Chabon a few years ago when I reluctantly began reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. When I finished it I believed that it was possibly one of the most intriguing books I have ever read. I never thought a book involving comic books would be so interesting! Joe Kavalier was a fascinating character, who was not able to see all that he had, and Sam Clay longed for the time when he could be accepted for who he is.

The reader follows the ups and downs in their lives not knowing what to expect thanks to Chabon's vivid imagination. I was entranced with his writing and words, and enthralled with his clever imagination. There are many touching and poignant scenes and phrases that I feel I can see when I close my eyes. All in all, I felt that this was one of my most satisfying reads. Oddly enough however I stayed way from other Chabon novels. I was concerned that they wouldn't live up to the high standard set by Amazing Adventures.

I finally decided to return to the world of Chabon and I am glad I did. Michael Chabon's novel The Mysteries of Pittsburgh describes the process of growing up in glorious detail. The main character, Art Bechstein, tells the reader about new sexual experiences, new friends and his difficult relationship with his father. It is a lot of fun to read, because of the funny, bizarre and shocking passages, which appear throughout the book. This book is not only funny however, but it is serious as well. The reader is confronted the main characters insecurity, his fears and worries and his varied sexual experiences. The author manages to get the reader involved in a story full of crime, homosexual affairs, fear, lust and excessive parental care. It is a well written book, which is easy to understand.

I would discribe this coming of age story as a new classic. Chabon pushes the envelope with scenes and descriptions that some people may find offensive in the book. There are very detailed descriptions of Art's sexual contacts with Arthur and the author uses lots of provoking details to describe the sex between two men, but these provoking details make the book a unique read. This coming of age story isn't cloaked behind false pretenses, it is very real and the reader can feel the emotions of the main characters.

Chabon has made it into the high ranks as one my favorite authors and it may be a while before I write another book review in this blog, because it is going to be a while before another book is this good.

Cemetery of Forgotten Books

One of my all time favorite books is Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, I think I have actually mentioned this in a couple of blog posts. This year I had the pleasure of reading his new title The Angels Game. Both of these books are beautifully written and capture the reader in an amazing story, and both of these books mention a place in Spain know as the "Cemetery of Forgotten Books." In the modern world it is hard to imagine this place, libraries now are single level and filled with computers, I went into the library on my campus last week and I had to walk more than halfway through it before I was able to see shelves of books. And then there is the smell of a good ole fashion library, that smell just can't be recreated in the modern library.

Then this weekend we went to the historic Georgetown University Library in Healy Hall. I was completely in awe of this library. Spiral stairs led up into the stacks and you could walk through what felt like millions of historic books. The beautiful structure felt light and airy although it was full of books. We walked around the library and I took a bunch of pictures of the stacks and the structure. I felt like I could have stayed in the library looking at all the documents for years.

This is what I imagine the Cemetery of Forgotten Books to feel like. A large labrinth of stacks, books piled high and that one gem could be buried deep in the back. You never know what you may find in a library like this and that is what I imagined the "Cemetery" to be like. For the book lover this was an unparralleled experience, if you are in the DC area, and you love books, I hope you can get the chance to visit the library at Georgetown University, its gorgeous!

Three Years Continued...

Here are some more of my favorite posts from July and on this year...

I threw a fit...

More Costa Rica... this post and a bunch of others after it

The Hate Crimes Bill and Senator Kennedy's Floor Remarks (with a section that mentions our attack)

An oddly entertaining trip to a restaurant

Why I need to write a bestselling book!

When good customer services goes wrong...

Letter to Freshman

Are you drunk?

The first time I ever posted a picture of myself or the doctor... but it was for a good reason

New Technology

Those are some of my favorites for the year, I will resume some regular posts later on this week... but enjoy these for now!

Three Years of Blogging

I have been meaning to post this blog for a while now. On November 9, 2009 my blog turned three years old. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be writing the blog for this long when I first started but it has become a part of what I do. Some days I do it better than others but I do it.

This year was a tumltous year, with lots of ups and downs, and it all was captured in my blog. Here are some of my favorite or most important posts.

I know I am short but I am not invisible, a man sits on me in the metro!

The Doctor spends Thanksgiving in New York with me and my family.

A major difference between myself and the Doctor.

My American Idol Obsession

Mmmmm Food

I hate automated phone systems and this was the worst.

How are you graduating?

March was all about Costa Rica... this is one of my posts from vacation, and there are many others.

Things that only happen to me on the metro

Yikes, sorry!


The Bookstore Gods are mean sometimes

A lot about Fabio Brandao... this post and many more

More Brandao- My Statement that was read at the protest.

Are you proud?

This is just until June... I will continue with Part 2 tomorrow!

Bill 18-482, Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009 Testimony

Testimony by JRH on Bill 18-482, Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009 before the Committee on Public Service and the Judiciary on November 9, 2009.

I would first like to thank DC City Council Member David Catania and the nine co-sponsors of Bill 18-482 for introducing a bill that will amend the law and allow for same sex couples to marry in the District of Columbia.

When I first came out of the closet as a gay man to my parents there were many challenges, many of the same challenges every gay man has. Some of the challenges were personal, some involved acceptance, and still others involved my mothers religious beliefs. There were many things that my loving family didn’t understand, like why I would make this choice for my life. Certain things my family still doesn’t comprehend. However, the one thing that stuck with me for all these years is them sitting across the table from me and saying… “We just want you to get married and have a family.” I started to cry, and I looked my parents straight in the eye, with the tears dripping down my face and told them that I was still going to do that.

Back when I made this declaration to my parents it was not legal for me to marry the man I love anywhere in the United States. People were fighting for these equal rights, but this fight for equality was just becoming visible to me. I had no idea how hard of a fight it would be, because I grew up assuming that all men and women are created equal, that “separate but equal” was a thing of the past, a failed experiment that the men and women before me had finally fixed. I was sadly mistaken. The same failed and unequal laws were being applied to the LGBTQ community in the United States. I started seeing this and I felt defeated.

I was starting to feel at peace with who I was a couple of years ago. I had found a group of friends that loved and supported me; I had a good job, and had gotten past the feelings of confusion and hate because of who I was. While my family didn’t openly acknowledge who I was, they accepted me on a one on one basis. This was progress. Then one October evening, I decided to go out with a group of my supportive friends and I met a man who took my breath away. From the moment I saw this man I knew that no matter what, this man was going to be a very important part of my life. Over the next few months we grew very close; it became very rare that we would be out in public without each other. My friends and family were shocked to see me as happy as I was; I was simply a better person when he was around. I had fully accepted myself for who I was and that was freeing. As the summer ended the Doctor and I made the decision to leave Boston where we had been living and move down to DC. The Doctor had secured a job that he couldn’t pass up at a local university, and I had a job opportunity in the District as well.

The Saturday before the Doctor left Boston completely changed my world view. I had gone out for a few celebratory drinks with friends to mark an end to our time together in Boston and we decided to walk home. We were enjoying each others company when suddenly an innocent night was turned upside down. A white car pulled up and a few guys jumped out, one of them attacked me. He screamed “die faggot die,” as he kicked my head into the pavement. He ran off with his friends to his car, driving away, leaving me unconscious in the middle of the street. A witness pulled up, making sure on-coming cars wouldn’t run me over. My friends watched, tears welling up, as they loaded me into the ambulance. I don’t remember anything. I woke up in the hospital. I turned to see my friend in the other bed, also a victim of this hate, still bleeding from his scalp. My own head was throbbing. Even as the world came into focus, I was still confused.

The Doctor was out of town this weekend, yet he was still the first one to make it to the hospital to see me after this horrific attack, except the Doctor had to fight to get into the hospital to see his friends because he was not family and we were not married. This was another figurative blow to the head.

The Doctor was there with me through the recovery. The Doctor was there with me through the nightmares. He slept next to me even when I would wake up punching and screaming as I relived the attack. The Doctor was there with me for the Doctor appointments, and cleaned my wounds, some of which were very gross. The Doctor was there with me to get my mind off of things when I needed to be thinking about something happy all I had to do was look him in the face and I knew he was the one I could count on. The Doctor was the one sitting next to me at the trial, when the man who attacked me pled guilty and got off with no jail time, and the Doctor was the one standing next to me as I spoke out against the violence and the judge who allowed this man his freedom. I knew very early on that this was the man I was going to marry. This strong man who was always there for me was the man that I was going to spend the rest of my life with.

Two years after I met the Doctor, on the night before the Equality March in DC, I proposed to the Doctor and we are now engaged. On October 10, 2009 we made a commitment to each other, and in 2010 we want to be able to get married in Washington DC and we want many other loving couples to follow.

Equality is never something I though I would have to fight for but it is and this Bill is one of many steps in the right direction for all citizens of the United States, straight, gay, bisexual, or questioning. We all deserve to be treated equally and we all have a right to marry those we love. I urge the City Council to pass this bill and set an example for all to follow.

Thank you

Same Sex Marriage in Washington D.C.

Here is your chance to help make a difference:

Same-gender marriage has 10 co-sponsors on a 13 member DC Council and is therefore expected to pass next week. As with any newly passed DC Act, Congress has the power to prohibit it from becoming DC Law within a 30-Day Review Period. It’s therefore critical to have the record reflect overwhelming support for marriage equality. I’m writing to ask you to submit a written testimony to become a permanent record of the bill. Will you, please?

Here is a suggested format for you to follow.

Email Subject: Bill 18-482 Testimony

Body of your Email:

Testimony by Your Name on Bill 18-482, Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009 before the Committee on Public Service and the Judiciary on Today’s Date

1. Generically thank the bill’s introducers
2. Tell your story and stance
3. Ask the Council to pass the bill
4. Close with your contact information, including address, phone and email

Emails count as equally as paper letters. Please BCC me.

Ms. Deborah Kelly, Secretary to the Council
John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Room 5
Washington DC 20004

These testimonies will be accepted up until 5 PM on Monday, 11/9/09. It makes no difference where you reside, and each voice has equal representation.

Whether you’re motivated by successes in places like Iowa or disheartened by temporary set-backs in places like Maine, please see this as your chance to be heard. It matters. It sure as hell matters to whether you’ll ever get an invite to my DC wedding.

Yours in the struggle for equal treatment under state and federal law for all people

Drunk Vampire

So Vampires are the new hot thing, with the New Moon and that Vampire HBO show thingy (True Blood I think its called) Vampires are in the mainstream and popular. So, when a guy showed up to our party dressed as a Vampire on Friday, I didn't really think anything of it. I wasn't quite sure who this guy was but I figured he was a friend with the roommate, or a friend of a friend. Anyway, the party continued without any major problems, the Vampire was apparently drinking in the backyard and enjoying the party.

Later in the night I had decided that it was time to wrap up the Halloween/Engagement/Birthday Party for the Doctor and myself so I turned down the music and turned up the lights slightly every few minutes. People slowly started to get the idea, and since it was late people started to say goodbye. I wasn't in a huge rush but I did want to start moving people out of the house. It took about an hour for the house to mostly clear out and we were left with a few close friends and the people who were staying with us.

We started to do a sweep of the house and pick things up; the house wasn't too bad. I ran upstairs to put a few things away and then I got the message that somebody was in the half bathroom in the lower level. I came down the stairs and found three friends talking nicely to the door and trying to coax it opened with words or by gently pushing on it. That obviously didn't work since neither the door nor the person on the other side of the door was responding to them. I come the rest of the way down the stairs and tell people to move out of my way. People try to tell me to calm down and let them be; however, I am not in the mood to let an idiot be in my bathroom at the end of the party. People can tell that I mean business so they move out of my way.

I turn the unlocked door knob and with one shoulder led push I am into the lower level bathroom that they were trying to coax open with kind words (sometimes kindness is not the answer). Once I am inside I notice the vampire passed out on the floor with blood running down his face and vomit on his chin. I hold back my queasiness and block my urge to throw up with anger. I look around the room and see that this drunken vampire has pulled my toilet paper holder and towel rod from the wall. I don't do well with morons wrecking my house so now I am fully pissed off. I kick the passed out vampire and he doesn't move so I reach down and grab him from under his arms. He mutters incoherently. I lift him to his feet; he mutters again and slowly regains consciousness but is clearly very intoxicated. I open the bathroom door, practically carry this drunken mythical creature to my front door and throw him out slamming the front door behind him with a warning to never come back.

I turn around to see six friends looking at me in awe, not sure what to think. I walk back inside proceed to clean up the bathroom and enjoy my victory. Here is a warning for all of you, who may come over to my house for any reason, don't break my shit, it pisses me off and I do not take it well. Be responsible enough to know what you are doing or I will throw you the hell out. And guess what, I won't care how drunk you are, and I might even take pleasure in it!

Reasons 3026- 3052: Why The Doctor Is Amazing!

3026- He planned a party and invited a bunch of my friends down to surprise me!

3027- He dealt with me wondering where the hell he was when he was picking up said friends at the airport.

3028- He made sure to invite even friends who lived in Brazil.

3029- He went that extra mile to try to keep all of these plans a secret from me.

3030- He refused to have a good time unless I had a good time

3031- He loves me despite my moods

3032- He loves me even though I am never appreciative enough of what he does for me

3033- He picks out the Halloween costumes and makes me wear them so I don't have to ever think about it.

3034- He calls my boss and tell her a month in advance that I won't be in on Friday, so that I could enjoy time with my friends.

3035- He knew I would never call out myself

3036- He plans an entire weekend of event so that we can all have an amazing time together.

3037- He get 20 friends together and rents a limobus to take a vineyard tour

3038- He surprises me with all of these plans

3039- Things that I can not mention on this blog

3040- He knows what will make me smile

3041- He can get me to smile in pictures

3042- He loves me even when I shut down for no reason (and did a couple times this weekend)

3043- He didn't have to do any of these things this weekend, but he did because he wanted to see me happy.

3044- He fell asleep on my shoulder, and no matter how upset or tired I was, I was happy he was there.

3045- He send me text messages that make me smile even when he is sitting next to me

3046- He calls me an idiot for dropping my phone in the toilet but helps me fix it

3047- He tickles me because he loves the way I laugh when he does it

3048- He is just so darn cute when he falls asleep on the couch

3049- I know he is the perfect person for me, and I am blinded by these shiny rocks on my finger!

3050- He is always right when it comes to me blowing the little things out of proportion

3051- He deals with me blowing the little things out of proportion

3052- He love me no matter what and I love him

I couldn't say enough nice things about what he did for me this weekend. We had an amazing time with our friends and none of it would have been possible without him. It was so great to see friends that I haven't seen and have the opportunity to hang out and so exciting things and enjoy their company. Thank you to everybody who came to the party on Friday night, and the wine tour on Sunday. And a very special thanks to all of my friends from "Boston" who came to DC to celebrate our birthdays and engagement with us. I love you all!

Pi Pizza Update

A couple of months ago I talked about our trip to Pi Pizzeria in Adams Morgan Washington DC. I mainly discussed how we had the most insane but enjoyable service from the owner, Heatherly Hajoligholi.

This weekend when our friends were in from Boston (and spots they moved to from Boston) the Doctor and I took them to Pi Pizzeria so that they could experience what I had talked about in the previous post.

Unfortunately, when we walk in and are seated by a fantastic waitress we ask if Heatherly is in, and we find out that at the age of 27 Heatherly had passed away. We didn't have the heart to ask the waitress who almost burst into tears what happened so that remains a mystery, but we did feel very sad that this passing character in our lives had passed.

We wish her family and friends all the best and hope that they are able to maintain the business in her honor.